Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Carmelo Garcia emerges for first interview since his infamous Rat Tapes surface

Hudson County TV highlights Garica's claim how he had no choice but to 'set people up'

In a rambling, ranting interview with Hudson County TV, the embattled HHA Director Carmelo Garcia repeats a number of allegations in his civil suit and points the finger at others he says forced him to try and set them up in a recorded lunch with former State Senator Bernard Kenny and the mayor's husband, Stan Grossbard.

"What they had been asking of me to do," Garcia says claiming harassment and intimidation forced him to corroborate so he "had to record the meeting."

Nowhere in this interview or his civil lawsuit does it say what Garcia was coerced or illegally asked to do.  In what MSV calls the Carmelo Garcia Rat Tapes, the only attempt at steering a contract illegally outside of a legal bidding process is made by Garcia himself.

Although Garcia repeats his allegations how he's a victim, there's no evidence that he is being intimidated and harrassed into doing anything.  In the transcript, the mayor's husband urges Garcia to make a stronger effort in the bidding process to identify a lawyer from a wider range of responsive bidders and earn the trust of the HHA commissioners.

At the previous HHA meeting where a fifth vote on the counsel contract occurred, the vote itself was deemed illegal by HHA commissioner Jake Stuiver in a 4-3 vote.  The reason for his statement was no HUD bidding process had been completed as required under federal law.

Garcia would later claim the stenographer recorded the vote 4-3 in favor of Daglian's re-appointment at the meeting but a video later published by MSV showed it false.  Garcia's plan to have it reviewed by outside legal counsel in Hudson County was stopped and HUD did not need to come in once again to inform Garcia his attempts at steering the HHA counsel contract to Daglian was "legally flawed" as it did last March in a MSV exclusive.

In an attempt to defend the charge of "ethnic cleansing," Louis Zayas the attorney for Garcia says the mayor in not supporting Garcia's Vision 20/20 plan is akin to an action to "obstruct" and has "the effect" of "ethnic cleansing."

This new ethnic cleansing definition is a departure from the civil suit's claim the mayor had a competing Vision 20/20 plan.  MSV has earlier stated no such plan exists.

Garcia airs a number of gripes against the HHA board no longer under his total control including their continued resistance as his boss to re-appoint Charles Daglian for legal counsel, raising the possible creation of a deputy director position and that he was Rice noticed and saw a potential discussion with possible termination of his contract.

The specter of Vision 20/20 also is raised by Garcia what he calls in connection to his lawsuit "a big issue."  In his civil claim, reference to Vision 20/20 is said to have incurred economic loss to him personally.  It's not clear how that would occur or how much compensation Garcia expects to reap if Vision 20/20 does not move forward as he wishes, a plan which he says is for "the people."

The last time there was a deputy director position created in the HHA, the job went to - Carmelo Garcia  - who then would eventually move up to executive director.

In the video, Garcia accuses the mayor's husband of impropriety at a lunch meeting he pursued and set up saying he "... should not be the wheeler and dealer.. should not be negotiating."  The transcripts made public which Garcia himself made never expecting they would be legally obtained and publicized show the opposite as Grossbard urges him to work with the HHA board and enhance the width of the HUD contract bidding process.

In the transcript, Garcia attempts to get agreement on one local attorney, Joe Garcia, but his offer is not accepted by anyone at the lunch.  Joe Garcia was briefly chief of staff under mayor Peter Cammarano and does some work in his existing firm for the City of Hoboken in an ongoing rent control case.

Garcia also accuses the mayor's husband of calling him "a janitor" and adds, "I felt I was being threatened... under the iron fists of these people... to get me to do what they want to do."

Carmelo Garcia late in the interview calls himself "a man of great integrity."

Both Garcia and Zayas declined to discuss if any additional secret recordings of others were made.  While Hudson County pols are asking themselves what they may have said to Garcia, there's at least two other meetings where Garcia may have gone in wired in an attempt to "set up" others.

Earlier last spring, Garcia held a meeting with the mayor in a last second attempt to present an "emergency" to gain her support to approve phase one of Vision 20/20.  The mayor replied with a formal letter stating her list of concerns.  At least one other lunch is known to have been requested by Garcia with HHA commissioner Jake Stuiver.

Was the Carmelo Garcia rat machine also rolling at these two meetings?

Talking Ed Note: Let's restate the incontrovertible fact that the Carmelo Garcia Rat Tapes were not made public by him or his lawyer or submitted to law enforcement as part of his self-appointed "Entrapment Crime Wave."

The lawsuit was a response to their knowing they had been legally obtained by other parties against his will and were discussed here and elsewhere at great length leading up what was clearly coming: their exposure.

You can say the sky is brown when a video shows it's blue, but it hardly makes a case for you to point to the video and say it proves your case.

This will certainly provide lots of weekend entertainment and for some such as State Senator Brian Stack, additional sweating.

Garcia isn't denying he's taped others in his attempt to set up others.  Obviously he never expected his rat tapes to become public.  MSV continues to hear the secret tape recordings were a Carmelo Garcia staple and he's been at it "a long time."

The word on the Hudson County streets now extending to Trenton and all NJ points beyond is that Carmelo Garcia is a pariah.  Union City Mayor Brian Stack who made a recent visit to Hoboken is said to be steering clear of Carmelo Garcia and the visit to Hoboken with Garcia out of town is no accident.

That's too bad.

Thuggery on the record: Letter to HHA landlord Carmelo Garcia

The following letter was sent to HHA Executive Director Carmelo Garcia:

Jessica Coco
                                                                                                                  Hoboken, NJ 07030
                                                                                                                  Aug. 26, 2013

Carmelo Garcia
Director of the Hoboken Housing Authority
401 Marshall Drive
Hoboken, NJ 07030

Dear Mr. Garcia:

According to NJ State N.J.A.C. 5:10-1.1 and HUD regulation 24 CFR 966.4(e)(1) and 24 CFR 966.4 (e)(4), it is the responsibility of the landlord to provide a safe and habitable living environment. By law, the landlord guarantees that the residential rental property will be maintained in livable condition. Habitability according to law encompasses the element of security in person and property, and protection from foreseeable criminal activity. This warranty applies not only to individual living spaces, but also to areas used in common with other tenants like entryways, stairwells, elevators, and parking lots. Common areas must be reasonably safe for the use of both tenants and their guests.

This letter officially advises you as landlord (as HHA Director) and your office that the HHA under your direction has failed to provide adequate protection to me as a tenant, my apartment and vehicle in the HHA parking lot as required by law. Repeated physical threats against me combined with the repeated vandalizing/burglarizing of my apartment and vehicle parked in the HHA parking lot behind 320 Jackson St shows a pattern of inadequacy, failing to provide a safe habitable environment currently and the reasonable expectation from foreseeable criminal activity in the future.

Below is a partial list of criminal activity suffered as an HHA tenant since June 2013:

1)     Late-June. Car vandalized. The complete mirror panel of my 1992 Plymouth Voyager was ripped off its mount, as was the emblem of my car hood.
2)    Late June. Car vandalized. The door latch to my Plymouth Caravan was broken.
3)    Late June. Car vandalized. A/C not working. Car’s air-conditioning not working due to damage to the electrical wiring, causing a power shortage.
4)    Late June. Apartment vandalized. My apartment was vandalized and the deadbolt lock inside damaged. Several items were later discovered stolen from my apartment. 
5)    Aug. 8th. Car vandalized.  Car rear side door damaged. Back rear window glued shut.  My work ID stolen and HHA flyer found placed inside the vehicle in its place.
6)    Aug. 8th. Threats to me with bodily injury. An HHA employee threatens me with eviction, “set-up” by police, having my car further vandalized or destroyed outright or having my arm broken because of my skepticism about Vision20/20.
7)    Aug. 13th. Threats to me with bodily injury. Ms. Arlette Braxton and another unidentified woman working in the polling station on HHA property attempted to block me from voting neither confirming my name or address to verify in the voting records but created a hostile voting environment directing racial epithets against me, blocking the exit from the polling station and motioning near me with threats of physical attack as they identified me by my opposition to your Vision 20/20 “plan.”
8)    Aug. 15th. Threats to me with bodily injury. Ms. Arlette Braxton, President of the HHA Tenant Association physically threatened to do physical harm to me.
9)    Aug. 16th. Car vandalized. The car’s relay wires have been pulled out.
10) Aug. 20th. Apartment is illegally entered, burglarized and vandalized again. Chain to the door is damaged and removed. Several items were stolen.
11) Aug. 23th. 2nd Car vandalized.  Damage to door handle, gas tank, and scratches to rear window, where Hoboken Resident Parking Sticker is.
12) Aug. 25th. Car vandalized. 2 lawn chairs stolen from car.
13) Aug. 25th. 2nd Car vandalized.  Water added to gas tank, rear gasket punctured, causing oil leak, transmission dipstick broken so can no longer pull out.
14) Aug. 25th. Apt vandalized. On 2 occasions, I noticed someone trying to gain access to my apt.

By law, a landlord is liable for failing to provide the tenant with a secure and habitable living environment. The repeated patterns of vandalism, burglary, illegal entry to my apartment and car parked on HHA property and the consistent bodily threats against me by HHA related personnel is a breach by the landlord to provide a secure and habitable living environment.

The HHA has so far provided inadequate security to my person and property clearly stated in the listed details in this letter. I demand the HHA provide me with a safe and secure living environment as stipulated by law.


Jessica Coco

Talking Ed Note: So far three Hoboken residents connected to the HHA have gone on the record opposing Carmelo Garcia's Vision 20/20.  In doing so, each one has said they faced thug tactics: vandalism to property, eviction threats, burglary, and worse.

Yet Carmelo Garcia (and his lawyer) claim he's the victim of some imagined contrary Vision 20/20 plan coupled with "ethnic cleansing" put forward by the mayor.  No one has seen Carmelo Garcia's Vision 20/20 plan only a concept brochure from 2010 let alone a Mayor Zimmer Vision 20/20 plan.

Hoboken residents have been demanding Carmelo Garcia produce ONE Vision 20/20 plan?  

Who do you think is telling the truth?

Has any Hoboken Housing Authority resident received a legal letter with their Bill of Rights as stated in the 2010 Vision 20/20 brochure?  It's been three years, why haven't they?  Do you think they will fare any better than the people who signed their extinction notice when they answered the door and signed a petition from a smiling Carmelo Garcia, the Applied Housing chosen leader of the tenants association back in 2000?

Those residents mostly Hispanic low to moderate income are gone now - thanks to Carmelo Garcia.

Carmelo Garcia continues to push his 2010 dog and pony show brochure as if this is a sufficient legally binding plan.  It's most certainly not.  You know it, he knows it and the people of Hoboken know it.

There's thousands of residents in the HHA and over 52,000 in the City of Hoboken.  They share one common area of agreement.  They are not buying into the scam Carmelo Garcia and his little band of carmelitos are attempting to foster on Hoboken with no review, no input and most certainly no scrutiny.

Do you hear any of Carmelo Garcia's friends, political allies such as Michael Russo, Beth Mason, Ruben Ramos, Tim Occhipinti or Terry Castellano offering any semblance of an answer on the numerous questions on Vision 20/20 or as important the terror tactics going on within the HHA when residents raise a voice questioning Vision 20/20/.

Which tells you all you need to know about them and Vision 20/20.